A year before the fruition of this event, I was researching diversity within major design firms in Atlanta and interviewing local creatives from a variety of cultural backgrounds. These conversations helped guide the creation of discussion prompts for facilitation. Staying true to the social issue, we met at a local restaurant owned by three people of color who support gay rights and invited two special guests to offer their community and design-focused perspective: Carlton Mackey, Director of Emory’s Ethics and Arts program and Creator of BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE ™ and Carmen Garcia, Creative Director at Realm Advertising. Some of the questions included, How do you overcome self-doubt and gain a sense of belonging? What are the benefits of diversifying the creative community? Where do you find your support systems and mentors?
WHAT I LEARNED
Diversity exists but inclusion must be created. Past research can make a helluva difference later. Open discussions often generate their own questions. This was my first facilitation and looking back, there are several things I would have done differently, especially when it comes to timing and promotion. However, this event gave me the confidence to continue bringing awesome people together.